Warriors FC go 10 games without victory in the Singapore Premier League after Ikhsan Fandi’s equaliser earns 1-1 draw for Young Lions.
Ten-man Warriors FC continued their worst-ever start to a season as they went ten games without victory after playing out a 1-1 draw with Young Lions in the Singapore Premier League (SPL) at Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday night.
Delwinder Singh opened the scoring in the 38th minute but Hafiz Sulaiman’s 68th-minute sending off handed Young Lions a numerical advantage and they made it count when Ikhsan Fandi equalised shortly after for his third goal in as many games.
Chances were at a premium initially, but Warriors should have scored in the 18th minute. Ismadi Mukhtar swung in a decent cross towards Nur Luqman but the latter could not get a clean strike off and the ball rolled agonisingly wide.
Sahil Suhaimi too wasted a similar chance, after getting onto Shamil Sharif’s long diagonal ball but the unmarked forward failed to get his header on target in the 23rd minute.
The opener finally arrived in the 38th minute, as Jonathan Behe met Shamil’s looping free-kick at the far post to head the ball across goal to allow Delwinder the easy task of prodding it past goalkeeper Zharfan Rohaizad.
The Young Lions had chances to equalise before the break when Syahrul Sazali sent Naufal Azman free, but with only Mukundan Maran to beat, he hit his shot straight at the goalkeeper.
From the resulting corner, Hami Syahin was able to deliver a cross into the danger area but Taufiq Muqminin failed to get the touch required.
It was a different second half, with the game seeing more clear-cut opportunities and there should have been a goal seven minutes after the restart, when substitute Ignatius Ang delivered a cross towards Sahil and he got off a fierce shot which forced Zharfan into a fine save.
The game then swung towards the hosts’ favour just past the hour mark, after Hafiz received his second yellow card and was sent off.
Despite going a man down, Warriors could have scored in the 66th minute as Ang again delivered a superb cross to Sahil and he seemed certain to score until Zharfan put in a superb block to deny him.
That allowed the Young Lions to fight their way back into the game and they duly obliged some three minutes later.
Syahrul showed outstanding pace to beat his marker and darted into the box to draw Mukundan out, before he cut the ball back for Ikhsan to stab home and continue his outstanding goalscoring streak in the 69th minute.
Haiqal Pashia and Irfan Fandi came close next with their respective efforts as the Young Lions pushed for a winner but ultimately time ran out and both sides had to settle for a point.
The Young Lions will continue their gruelling run of games three days later, as they take on Tampines Rovers FC at Jalan Besar Stadium on 30 May. Warriors will return back to Choa Chu Kang Stadium to face Hougang United FC on 2 June.
Young Lions Head Coach Fandi Ahmad: “First half we were very cautious and we were not pushing forward enough. After they got the red card, we pushed more and we really opened up their defence. It was a good game, we could have snatched a winner. We made some mistake in the first half, resulted in that goal, the man marking wasn’t there. We managed to keep Jonathan Behe quiet but it was a good experience for the team. We came back very strong and we should have pushed more.”
Warriors FC Head Coach Mirko Grabovac: “We controlled the game in the first half, we played and we tried to play, and the second half we have a red card, it was a little harsh. After that we got two 100 percent chances. It is disappointing, if you don’t score and opponents score, this is what we get today. Today for us even with ten players we had that chance to win the game. This is not a problem of how they play, it’s the results that is the problem now.
Young Lions: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Irfan Fandi, Taufiq Muqminim (C), Rusyaidi Salime, Adam Hakeem, Syahrul Sazali (Amirul Hakim 90’), Hami Syahin, Joshua Pereria, Asshukrie Wahid (Haiqal Pashia 46’), Naufal Azman (Ifwat Ismail 83’), Ikhsan Fandi
Warriors FC: Mukundan Maran (GK), Ismadi Mukhtar, Delwinder Singh, Kento Fukuda (C), Ho Wai Loon, Shamil Sharif (Poh Yi Feng 78’), Nur Luqman (Ignatius Ang 46’), Hafiz Sulaiman, Emmeric Ong, Jonathan Behe, Sahil Suhaimi (Suria Prakash 69’)